WASHINGTON — A total of 160 of the island’s 320 public health centres are to be equipped with state-of-the-art blood pressure machines donated by the Washington-based Jamaica Women of Washington (JWoW) at a cost of $2.6 million (US$32,000).
President of the organisation, Dr. Jacqueline Watson, said that because hypertension is such a major problem in Jamaica, JWoW has joined forces with the Ministry of Health to make sure that all health centres are equipped with functioning blood pressure machines so that people can be screened for this silent killer.
Funds raised at the 9th annual Tea Off to Good Health and silent auction on June 12, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC will go towards purchasing the well-needed blood pressure machines.
The JWoW president highlighted that her organisation is raising awareness about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and getting screened for high blood pressure and other preventable chronic non-communicable diseases. Early detection and control of hypertension are crucial in reducing death, she added.
She further informed that in Jamaica, 25 per cent of 15 to 74 year olds are estimated to be hypertensive and 68 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women are not aware that they have the disease.
Dr. Watson said that JWoW is committed to its mission to provide support in improving the health and quality of life for women, children, families in Jamaica and Washington, DC.
The group of Jamaican professional women were recently singled out by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, and Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks for its continued support to the health and educational sectors in Jamaica.
Over the past seven years, JWoW has contributed US$175,000 or approximately $14.5 million to a number of charitable organisations in Jamaica, including the Combined Disabilities Association, University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Development and Endowment Fund, Jamaica AIDS Support, Mensana Community for the Upliftment of the Mentally Ill, Westmoreland Association of Street People, Children’s First, Women’s Media Watch, Family and Parenting Centre, and Western Society for Upliftment of Children.
Incorporated in 2003, JWoW is comprised of women of Jamaican heritage residing in Washington, who are working to improve the health and quality of life of vulnerable women, children and families in underserved communities, particularly in Jamaica, the Caribbean and the Greater Washington area.
For the second year, JWoW will stage its 9th annual Tea Off for Good Health Golf Tournament at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa from October 7 to 10.
By DERRICK SCOTT, JIS Reporter